Ah, the beautiful grape…

Ah, the beautiful grape…

I’ve been so busy writing and working that I’ve got nothing for the blog today (hangs head in shame). So I’m riffing on wine below, while in a complete brain stupor from too much learning of Quick Books at work and too much editing at home. Enjoy!

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Wine. It’s been used as a vehicle for poison – remember all those scenes with the wine glasses switching places? It’s been used as a way to impress (“I’ll have the Chateau LaFitte Rothschild ’64, my man”) and as a way to get a young, lissome teenager easily drunk (Boone’s Farm, anyone?).

When I was younger, red wine, red meat and garlic bread would ease my monthly cramps and put me in a happy place. (Actually, now that I think about it, those three ALWAYS put me in my happy place, lol.) When it’s cold outside, I love a big bottle of red wine to warm me up. Mulled wine is not out of place when it’s snowing or sleeting or even raining outside, no matter where you are in relation to sea level. But … moving on.

As you know, I’m all for the inexpensive, yet tasty, bottle of wine. So what do I do when  a respected and revered person gives me a bottle that easily costs – oh, say, six to ten bottles that I normally buy? And is sincerely interested in my opinion?

One genuflects, of course, and with all appreciation. The bottle is resting in my tiny wine cellar *koff koff* and I shall enjoy it this Saturday night, with an appropriate meal around it. Word has it on the internet that it benefits from an hour’s worth of aging. I think I can bring myself to allow it to age that long…but maybe not before taking a tiny sip.

Hopefully I can wrench myself away from editing on Sunday and can find the time to spill the beans on this wine. I’m really looking forward to it – I hope I love it!

Now, the weather is cooling down but the politics are heating up. What to drink while you’re avoiding all the debates, caucuses, rants and missteps leading up to the next election? Why, the 7 Deadly Zins, of course! (Whosoever amongst you be without sin, throw the first stone…man, I so wish ALL our politicians were compelled to follow that! I’m just so tired of rhetoric. What to watch on TV is another post, entirely!)

(By the way, did you get it? Zins? Sins? Politicians? Sorry…I crack myself up…) Anyway, I couldn’t let this post go without at least one wine mention. This unfortunately ISN’T under $10 – according to the sites I checked online, it’s running about $16 – but it’s a good, solid Zinfandel that will go well with any big, hearty meal you’re planning – especially as the weather turns again and grows cooler. And let’s face it – when politics heats up, we all need a little something special to keep our ears deaf to the noise. I truly believe 7 Deadly Zins is that special wine.

However, since I don’t have it in front of me and cannot in good conscience give it any sort of rating, I’ll merely say here that I’ve bought it in the past and I’ve enjoyed it.

And now my ducks, I must get my beauty sleep. Morning and rehab come all too quickly for my taste – but hopefully, in the afternoon, I’ll get the pesky boot off (remember it? No? Here’s a picture…) and I can start, slowly, reminding my body what it’s like to walk evenly on two feet. I was so hoping to just jump back into 

getting into shape – ah, not so. There’s this whole “getting your body used to having two good legs” thingie that my therapist is also helping me with, bless her heart.

Hopefully the change of topic so often didn’t give you whiplash…so, onward. Go forth and drink the fermented grapes, and let me know what you’ve discovered!

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet? Go buy it now, lol!


Steelhead, Harmony, and Dynamite Wines

Steelhead, Harmony, and Dynamite Wines

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10, unless noted otherwise.


Finally, the dust is settling on my whirlwind vacation and new job. I can divulge a few more wines that we indulged in, while enjoying nature at close to 8 thousand feet in the Eastern Sierras.

Steelhead Pinot Noir, 2009 Sonoma County Alcohol 14.3% by volume – $9.99 on sale at Vons. Check out the winery here.

On the Label: “Better wine. Better world.  Earthy, dark cherry flavors, notes of spice and cocoa and a long, velvety finish.   Pair with wild salmon, poultry, pork and lamb.    Sonoma County Vineyards with ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir.  French Oak.  This wine honors our commitment and efforts to restore the Steelhead habitat. We are the official wine of Trout Unlimited and support their conservation efforts with a donation for every bottle purchased.

My take: It’s a lovely wine. It has depth, a nice velvety texture (as advertised), and went brilliantly with campfire smoke and hamburgers. Plus, it’s makers are altruistic. How cool is that?

I checked into the Trout Unlimited group. I didn’t have time to really dig into the website, but for any avid trout fisherman, it’s fascinating reading. I, however, am not an avid trout fisherman. Go to the site though, because it does look interesting.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~  I truly enjoyed this wine. Though it could be the campfire talking…

Winery Wine – Harmony Cellars Harmonie White Table Wine Paso Robles $14.50/bottle

On the Label: “My goal is to produce wines that taste delicious. With over 800 awards and accolades since 1989, the wines of Harmony Cellars simply speak for themselves. Harmonie is our white table wine, a lovely blend of Chardonnay, White Riesling, and Muscat Canelli. Harmonie, with it’s light tropical aromas and flavors, pairs wonderfully with summertime fare, cheese and crackers, and good friends. Please visit us in Harmony, or on the web at HarmonyCellars.com or call 1-800-432-9239.” – Chuck Mulligan, Winemaker

My take: As he says, this is the perfect summer wine. I recognized that in February, when we visited the winery on our way home from Big Sur. Hubby loved it – I purchased four bottles of the stuff. (I did end up filling a case – six bottles of the 2007 Zin, two of the Private Reserve Pinot, and the four Harmonie.)

If you’re in central California and you can, I encourage you to visit Harmony (population, 18) and the Harmony Cellars off of Highway 101 (just south of Cambria and near HW46). The people are friendly, the wines tasty (though they do vary in price – $14.50 seems to be the bottom of the range), and the memories lasting.

My Rating: ~ Very, Very Drinkable ~

Okay, one more…

Dynamite Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Red Hills Lake County 13.99% alcohol Regularly $19.99, on sale at Vons for $9.99

On the Label: “Our Cabernet Sauvignon offers luscious blackberry, cassis, chocolate and cedar aromas and flavors. Hints of toffee linger on the fruity finish. The rich, velvety flavors make a dynamite match with grilled steak, roasted game, garlicky lamb chops and aged cheeses.

The inspiration for the name Dynamite came from hillside vineyards so thick with volcanic rock that we blasted with dynamite to plant the vines. Our colorful label by Stephen Ward illustrates the Pomo Indian legend behind the diamond-like quartz that sparkles in the soils of our volcanic vineyards: “The Moon wept when she could not be with her love, a Pomo Chieftain, and her tears fell to the earth, forming glistening ‘moon tears’. ” Taste the magic in our legendary wines.”

My take: Way too much info on the label and way too diverse info on the label. Any one of those things would be interesting – volcanic rock, dynamite, Pomo Indians, ‘moon tears’ – but put it all together and it’s a label I find terribly confusing. The painting that’s on the front is beautiful, and so is the Indian legend (even though it comes out of the blue), but…eh. Of course, now I want garlicky lamb chops. Bustards.

As to the wine – well, the first bottle we had earlier in our camping week seemingly disappeared after I opened it. And then the top got cut off, and the bottle disposed of…so I had to get a second bottle, especially when I saw it was going for half price.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ It just wasn’t memorable. Though I certainly wouldn’t spend $20 for it!

When I went to their website, the consensus was overall that the wines were high quality, but also “every day” wines, and I’d have to agree. I just don’t think an “every day” wine should be $20.

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and how much writing I’ve done that week. Your taste buds will differ.

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet?

Radiating Positivity

Radiating Positivity

thanks to mortonqlanglinaiss.blogspot.com

There are some people who are always seeking joy. For the optimists, and I definitely include myself in that group, everything will always work out. The money will be there, the vacation will happen, the book will sell. If it doesn’t work out in the way they hope, then something better will come along and take care of things.

Then there are those who go through life guarded against disappointment. They worry a lot. It’s more of, this is what I’ll have to do because the money isn’t there. We’ll be lucky to take a vacation next year. Selling a book is a crapshoot.

I understand the pessimist’s viewpoint – or as a friend of mine would say, the “realist’s” viewpoint. They’ve been burned. Life’s hit them over the head a time or two, and they’re just hoping that nothing jumps out at them and swings the bat one more time. I get it. I sympathize.

But I can’t live that way. I HAVE to generate positivity. It’s hard-wired in me, like my green eyes and slender ankles. As I get older, I’m getting more mellow about it, too. I love surprising people – holding the door open for someone younger than me with their hands full, and giving them a warm smile. Waving folks into traffic ahead of me. Chatting in an upbeat manner to complete strangers. 

I find that I like positivity in my online life, too. I’ve actually un-followed people on Twitter because of the language they’d use, and the negativity they sprayed on my day. I’m no prude – I can fling epithets around with the best of them, but I don’t want to see them on Twitter from people I barely know, ranting about their personal life. (That’s what a blog is for, lol!)

Cheerful people, on line and in person, uplift my day. Make me more able to go about with a smile on my face. Cheerful people generate a feeling of well-being in others. I am gung-ho about cheer, and positivity, and making my little corner of the world a sunnier place.

Which are you? A “realist” or an “optimist”?


Blogging Out and About

Just wanted to let you know – I’ll be at Rochelle Weber’s website all this week. As well, tomorrow I’ll be over at Castles and Guns with another interview.

Plus…I’m finally getting the blog up to speed, based upon a class I took in Blogging by Kristen Lamb (now, don’t laugh! Some of us need more help than normal, lol!). In a week or two I plan to be blogging at least twice a week – Gardening and Cooking on Mondays, and All About Affordable Wines on Fridays.

Hope you come back soon and check it out!

Branding, Blogging, Breathing…

Branding myself is a tiring business, but I have to remember it is a business. Writing a great book doesn’t mean squat if no one reads it, right? So, despite the fact that I don’t have an actual release date for my book, I’m forging ahead with my author brand by blogging at other sites, updating Twitter and Facebook, and if I’m lucky, adding words to book 2 in the Caine Brothers series.

It’s tiring. At times I have to remember to step away from the computer and just breathe. Whether I do yoga, or walk around the block, or meet a friend for coffee, I need the headspace away from my desk. Not to mention, my body needs to get moving in order to stay healthy. (Speaking of moving, I tried to do a couple of walk/runs. My third one, I tweaked my left knee. Sigh…and so it goes…)

Blogging gets kind of obsessive, especially when you get a lot of comments. I always feel I need to answer each one, even though I KNOW most of those commenting aren’t going back to read in case I comment! Still, seeing my words connect with other people is really cool.

Next week, on Monday I’ll be at Eva Coppersmith’s blog – you can find me there on and off all day PLUS I’ll be doing a giveaway of a copy of DEMON SOUL.

Now, I need to write. Tomorrow I have friends coming over for dinner, so will need to clean plus go to 10:30am yoga class. Oh, and cook, of course, I’ll need to do that too…oh, and the rest of the weekend?

I’ll be breathing.